Subscribe by clicking the icon in the lower right corner

EP 1738 Think of this from an employer’s perspective and you’ll understand why it is the case.

Read Full Transcript

Someone asked me this question. I think is a very good one. It doesn't matter whether you are starting out in your career or you are an experiences individual. Taking a career break can be hazardous to your health. So, the question is, “Why is it so hard to find a job after taking a break?” It was originally worded as “Why is it so hard to apply for a job after taking a break?”

Applying for jobs? No big deal. It's actually finding the job that’s the problem.

It starts off with employers don’t trust you. They don’t trust that you are telling them the truth. They don’t trust that you have been off gallivanting in Southeast Asia for six months. They think you are a loser because most people that they run into don't do this kind of thing.

They look for reliability. They look for dependability. They look for the simple. You're not simple to them. You're more complicated. At least, that's the story that they are hearing. So, in the course of the conversation or in the course of submitting your resume and cover letter, use the body of your email as a cover letter and talk to the gap in your background.

“You know, I left this position (or if I was laid off from this position) and I looked at this as an opportunity. I'm 24 (I'm 44 or I'm 64 . . . Whatever it is) and I realize that I wouldn't have time to do this anymore (or I hadn't had this opportunity in the past). I had the financial wherewithal to do it and I am obviously not a 24 your old and I looked at this as an opportunity to take some time and do something exciting (24. 44. 64. I gave three different answers there to cover the different age groups). I decided this would be a great idea to travel the country (go to Asia period build a house or whatever it is that you did). I took six months off. It was a great decision. I have been working so hard.”

At 24, you say, “I have put in a lot of effort and I realized that the next 20, 30 years of my life I’m going to be putting in even more effort. I decided that once I had this opportunity and the financial wherewithal to do it, I would take a little time.”

You explain it to them so they get it. You are not the first 24-year-old to “runoff to the circus.” I'm using that as a caricature, quite obviously. You are not the first 44 your old to have the itch to take a break more are you not the first 64-year-old who decides, “You know, a lifetime is not a long time. I don't have a lot of years left. I got more in the rearview that I have been in the windshield and I am going to take a little time off before getting back to work.

All of these are common stories and, if a firm doesn't accept it for me after you've explained it to them, both in writing and in person, then, they are not the right place for you. Find the one that is.

By the way, why is it so hard is that you don’t present it in a believable way. They don't trust you because the way you present it isn't congruent with someone who delights in what they've done as opposed to being ashamed of what they've done.

You see, the folks that have to explain the six-month gap in their background with, “I couldn't get a job,” well, those folks are ashamed and that's what they used to dealing with.

For you, you made a life choice that this was a great thing to do at this point, I commend you for doing it and so will the right employer. Go find that firm. Don't worry about the ones who want people who are “cogs in the machine.” That is not you.

Go live your life. Don't worry about the rest.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

If you have a quick question for me, you can get it answered with a 3-5 minute video at at 30% of what I charge through my website.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a free Discovery call. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job SearchTV app for FireTV or for AppleTV, Roku and 90 other devices

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas and advice in your current career and

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: